The Sorcerer - 13th to 16th April 2016
Sixteen years ago, we performed The Sorcerer together with The Zoo, a one-act opera by Sullivan with words by Bolton Rowe. This time, we will be performed Milborne Port Opera's very own version of The Sorcerer, in which a couple of The Zoo's characters have wandered into the story and complicated the action even more than Gilbert envisaged.
The time: Spring 1958. The place: Milborne Port, or Milborne Port as it might be in an alternate universe.
The residents of Milborne Port have assembled to join in the celebration of a wedding – Alexis, the son of Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre (the owner of Ven House), is marrying Aline, the daughter of Lady Sangazure, another locally-based aristocrat. The formal betrothal will take place outside the Guildhall, and the villagers have mixed feelings about being expected to turn out and do traditional Somerset rituals for this occasion, but are going along with it, even to the point of performing a wedding song for the happy couple .
Alexis arrives, with his best man, Thomas, to organise the singers. Thomas gets distracted by Eliza, who works in the village tea shop, and disappears into the shop to buy cakes while chatting up Eliza, while the villagers start the festivities with their song.
Not everyone in Milborne Port is as lucky in love as Alexis and Aline, though. Constance, a beautiful young girl whose mother, Mrs Partlet, is the church cleaner, carries a torch for the Vicar, Dr Daly, who believes his chance for love has passed, and misinterprets Constance's shy approaches. The potential in-laws, Alexis' father and Aline's mother, also nurse a passion for each other, but their formal ways prevent them from expressing their feelings, except as private fantasies.
All is ready for the formal betrothal to take place, and the doddery Notary arrives to conduct the ceremony, but Thomas is still missing. Emerging from the tea shop, he is feeling ill, which is explained when Eliza itemises the long list of goodies he has eaten while dallying with her. Nevertheless, he attempts to make a Best Man speech, by the end of which he, with the villagers' help, has managed to propose to Eliza.
Finally, Alexis and Aline are successfully betrothed. Left alone together, Alexis confides in his fiancée that he has a plan to pair up the whole village and give them happiness, by employing J.W. Wells, of the famous firm of Family Sorcerers, to create a love potion and secretly administer it during the wedding feast. Despite Aline's misgivings, he makes a contract with Mr Wells, who proceeds to enlist the help of imps and fiends to create his potion and conceal it in a teapot. A Spirit of Mismatched Love emerges, ready to wreak havoc with the romantic inclinations of the Milborne Port dwellers.
At the wedding feast, everyone (except Thomas, who is still feeling ill and gives his cup of tea to Eliza) drinks the tea and falls into a deep sleep, from which they are due to wake up and fall in love with the first person they see. The matchmaking results are unexpected, to say the least, but they all seem delighted and celebrate with a dance. Eliza (who has taken a double dose) remains asleep.
Constance has unfortunately woken up to see and fall in love with the Notary, rather than her true love Dr Daly. Despite this, Alexis is delighted with the success of his scheme, and urges Aline to take the potion as well, so that her love for him will be guaranteed to last for ever. Aline is insulted by this suggestion, and walks off while Alexis is trying to convince her in song. Eliza now wakes and falls in love with Alexis. Thomas reappears and is appalled. He reluctantly agrees to go to Mr Wells on Alexis' behalf and try to get an antidote.
In the meantime, Sir Marmaduke has fallen in love with Mrs Partlet, and Dr Daly is bemused by the number of weddings he has been asked to conduct. Despite Thomas' pleas, J. W. Wells insists that there is no possibility of an antidote and that Alexis bears the responsibility for any unforeseen consequences from the potion. He does admit to himself, though, that he feels guilty, and while he is musing on this, alone, he is discovered by Lady Sangazure, with the inevitable result that she falls in love with him and he struggles to shake her off. Aline has finally decided to take the potion to please Alexis, but accidentally sees and falls for Dr Daly.
It seems that the love entanglements could get no worse. How will this disaster be resolved? That would be telling – you will have to come and watch the show to find out!
|Alexis||Tony White||James Craw|
|Aline||Vikki Pye||Alison Stevens|
|Dr Daly||Nick Grundy||Andrew Armstrong|
|Lady Sangazure||Linda Mumford||Sarah Bignell|
|Lord Marmaduke||David MacTier||Chris Bailward|
|John Wellington Wells||Tristian Pye||Mark Blackham|
|Constance||Candice Marcus||Gemma Kiddle|
|Mrs Partlett||Scilla Copper||Alison Ruddy|
|The Notary||Royce Gay||Richard Gaunt|